A few weeks ago my son lost his phone. Which is not such an unusual thing; people lose phones all the time. But one minute he had it at work, the next, it seemingly evaporated.
Now, normally, we'd have left it at that and not bothered to intervene in attempts to unearth the missing device — Kyle's a grown man, he could figure it out himself. But soon after the thing went AWOL, we realized this meant we were incommunicado with our son at a time in which we needed to figure out complicated scheduling details. With three kids returning from school and moving out of dorms and apartments, we had a lot of logistics to map out in a short period of time. Which meant many calls and texts between all kids to reach consensus. Orchestrating five people to settle on mutually agreed-upon dates is hard enough without one basically being cut out of all means of communications.
Worse still, the battery hadn't been holding a charge on the phone, so its findability was dwindling with the passing hours. Oh, and that Find My iPhone app, designed to, uh, find your iPhone when it disappears? He hadn't remembered to download it. Oops.
About a day or so after its mysterious disappearance, one of Kyle's friends came up with the clever idea to try to see if "he" showed up on the Tinder app. [Tinder, for the uninitiated, is a widely-used dating app that uses Facebook profiles to match compatible participants based on geographic location, mutual friends and shared interests. The app allows users to anonymously "like" or skip others, and if two users "like" each other, Tinder introduces enables to "chat", or, if things really go your way, hook up.]
So his friend decided to check Tinder to see if my son's phone was beaming out its location, and sure enough, it emitted weak signals indicating it was within two miles of where they were.
The problem was Kyle was in the midst of finals, with no time to embark on a wild goose chase hunting this thing down.
But then I had what seemed like a brilliant idea: if indeed the phone was within two miles, that meant it was likely somewhere still at work, downtown. Which meant if someone closer to downtown logged onto Tinder and tried to locate my son's profile, it might confirm the phone's general location, greatly narrowing down the hunt. A no-brainer, if you ask me. And as the life-span of the dying battery was withering away, I knew we had to act fast.
So I called my husband, who was, conveniently enough, downtown.
"You've got to join Tinder, fast!" I urged him. And yeah, he had no idea what it was either, so I gave him a two-minute primer and pressed him to download the app and get to work.
Five minutes later I got a phone call.
"Man. My friends and I were single in the wrong century," he lamented, noting that Tinder seemed like a veritable free-for-all that would have meant nary a night alone back in the day. "But forget about that. Right now I'm having a big problem."
Seems as soon as he entered his information and linked it to Facebook, he started being bombarded with "likes" from women nearby interested in "chatting" with him. It was like the slot machine bells pinging when you get three cherries on the jackpot, coins spilling out onto the floor. Which meant that in small-town-everyone-knows-everyone Charlottesville, soon someone would start wondering why my husband was seeking dates online. Bad enough. But worse still because he soon realized that he'd never find our son while looking for women on Tinder, so he had to change his preference. Which would have been even more provocative for the cognoscenti in this town, wondering why my husband was suddenly in search of men. Not only men, but substantially younger ones, because he had to narrow it down to Kyle's age in order to connect (never mind that little detail that Kyle would have had to stipulate that he was interested in not just men but those more than twice his age, so it was all a moot point, we realized too late). Names and pictures were popping up all over the place and it was all tied to my spouse's Facebook account, which was no doubt a rather amusing place to watch as this unfolded.
"Help!" he said, stymied by the app. "I can't seem to stop all these people from connecting with me!"
Of course by then I had tears streaming down my face, laughing as I was. "Call one of the kids to find out what to do. Meantime, I have to call my friend, who is going to love this story."
Alas, said friend wasn't available, so I relayed the story to her husband. Who then decided to play a trick on my spouse and contacted him.
"What in the world is going on?" he texted. "I'm getting calls from women asking if I know you because they saw your picture on some dating thing on Facebook and want to go on a date."
My husband was mortified. All he was trying to do was locate the darned phone before the battery died forever. And now he was going to be seen as a serial creeper. He hemmed and hawed, tried to explain what was going on, when our friend burst out laughing. In the background was his wife, cracking up loudly over his quandary.
At last my husband figured out how to delete his existence on the app, my dubious idea having backfired, albeit not without a large dose of entertainment. And a short while later, a co-worker found Kyle's phone, which had slipped behind a drink cooler, none the worse for its wear and tear. Giving us just enough time to figure out our kids' collective moves, while making sure no strange women would be making their own unwanted moves on my unwitting spouse.
Slim to None
Anywhere But Here
Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me
Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship (I'm a contributor)
And these shorts:
Idol Worship: A Lost Week with the Weirdos and Wannabes at American Idol Auditions
The Gall of It All: And None of the Three F's Rhymes with Duck
Naked Man On Main Street
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